The chatter on the bus came to a screeching halt as we were enveloped by astonishing views in Catalonia, Spain… we had entered a very special designated-wine Catalan wine area… some of you may be thinking that I am talking about Priorat… yes, I visited Priorat during this same trip, and of course, it lived up to its hype as a fine wine region, and I will openly admit that during the whole trip I was thinking when are we going to get to Priorat…. but no, right now, I am talking about entering Terra Alta territory. If you have never heard of it, well, you are not alone, and those who have previously delved into some serious Spanish wine books may had been misled that this area lacks quality wine – far from it, as Ramon Roqueta Segalés, manager and family owner of Lafou Celler, showed us the heart-stopping landscape of his beloved Terra Alta and tasted us on his gracefully expressive wines, it became profoundly confusing to me as to why they were not known as a super star wine region.
If you happen to be strolling in the beautiful Sonoma Plaza and wander a short way into the courtyard where Passaggio Wine has their tasting room you will happily discover some wonderful wines.
Spend a few minutes there and you will quickly notice that the person who designed the tasting room is very thoughtful and classy. Better yet, if you happen to be there on a day when the owner and winemaker (Cynthia Cosco) is there, you will meet a very lovely person...talk with her a while and you will discover why her wines are so good.
But honestly there is a more wonderful story behind her beginning. Originally, from northern Virginia Cynthia (Cindi) walked away from a career where she was just a few years short of having a fully paid pension. She decided to fulfill her dream of being a winemaker! If you go to the Passaggio website (http://www.passaggiowines.com/) you can read about her start and growth in the wine industry in Sonoma county. But when I spoke to her about what drove her to make that change she shared a very personal story...
Growing up, she always remembered how great the feeling was whenever anyone stopped into her grandfathers house...quickly people would move into the kitchen...food would come out and a bottle of wine would be opened and shared. She embraces the memory of the sense of hospitality she felt and wanted to always have.
With great honor and distinction this talented winemaker will be celebrating her 10th year of making wine and her 3rd year of having her tasting room open. This weekend (August 5th & 6th) there will a lot of celebrating at Passagio Wines.
*Passagio is a Charter Fermented Partner and part of our Fermented Passport program, if you would like to enjoy Passagio's special perks click link.
If We Try to Deny the Bad and the Ugly, We Eventually Stop Recognizing the Good--by damewine (Cathrine Todd)
Surrounded by a sea of varying shades of green, I had to remind myself to keep on the well-trodden path as there could have been some remaining undiscovered active landmines… although less likely in the year 2017, as they have been largely deactivated and unearthed, it is better to be safe than sorry. My husband and I were at the 17thparallel, the former Vietnam DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), a demarcated area that separated South and North Vietnam during what American’s call the Vietnam War and what the Vietnam government calls the American War – this is where the majority of lives were lost during a war that lasted from 1955 until 1975. It was just as stunning in its raw beauty as so many Vietnam Veterans, or vets, (Americans who fought in the war) had described it to me. One vet not only told me about the surreal, natural splendor of the Vietnam landscape, but he also talked about the kindness and care of the South Vietnamese people who took care of his army unit. He still kept a picture next to his bed of a Vietnamese woman who would make fish soup for them… she was a temporary mother to his 18 year old self, and to this day, her picture is a reminder of the better memories from that experience.